Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lord of the gourd?

Did anyone else watch Lords of the Gourd on PBS recently? Many, many moons ago my old pumpkin finally rotted. We threw it on the compost heap and never gave it another thought. Sometime around June of this year, Dave called me outside to ask me if there was a pumpkin vine growing in our compost heap. Sure enough, my old pumpkin had sprouted.

We have two of these HUGE vines in the backyard, but getting a pumpkin to grow on them is truly a battle of the wills. I have had a zillion flowering problems, squash beetles, and the mosquitos try to carry me off every time I go out there. (It finally turned cooler here last night and I swear the mosquitos are in a final frenzy. Suddenly there are millions of them swarming me constantly, it's worse than when we lived in Florida and went into the swamp.)
About 2 weeks ago I finally had a good male flower and good female flower, so out I trot to hand pollinate them in hopes of having a pumpkin (finally!). I do "the deed", come back inside and not 30 minutes later a nasty old squirrel had torn up the female flower! I was so mad I could have spit. I covered up what was left with the only thing I could find quickly, a cloth napkin from our wedding. LOL

Maybe it worked, cross fingers, knock wood and all of that. As of this morning I have the beginnings of a pumpkin.

The PBS documentary really made me feel better about the pumpkin problem, those people can grow a 1400 lb pumpkin, but everyone of them faces the same problems I have faced with mine this year. I couldn't help but laugh at the tales of chasing woodchucks with the garden hoe (I had serious thoughts of doing bodily harm to the squirrel) and the ring of mouse traps. I will certainly appreciate the pumpkin patch more this year!
I thrifted this book for Jack for 80 cents (retail price was $15.95). It occurred to me last night that books might be the best deal in the thrift store*. Jack and I walked the very long walk to Barnes and Noble yesterday, and after an hour of playing with the Thomas set up there, we walked away with 2 magazines for almost $10. Books and magazines are crazy expensive! It makes those books that I buy at yard sales for 10 cents each all that much sweeter. (And the crazy cheap internet magazine subscriptions too!)

*My local Goodwill is now trying to charge $4 for one, used flat twin sheet. I don't mean to be grouchy, but that is ridiculous.


  1. glad to see the baby pumpkin!

  2. Sorry to hear about your pumpkin woes. I had bad luck with eggplants - we had a few eggplant plants this year with lots of flowers but only 4 eggplants. Maybe next year I'll try the hand pollination trick though we get plenty of bees so you would think I wouldn't need to.

    I LOVE used books - I bought two used kids books lately for each a dollar. You should check out used book stores as well.

    Finally, I checked out your flickr site the other day and was really impressed by all your photos - I went a little crazy with the comments :) .

  3. You are a serious pumpkin-eer. You science teacher, you.

    I think Goodwill's prices are getting ridiculous. Instead of selling sheet sets, they price them invidually now, so I only buy the piece I want. Same with the pillowcases.

  4. I consistently find better things for better prices at the smaller thrift shops. I've seriously given up on the ones run by the Big Names, because the quality does not match what they want to charge for it.

  5. Anonymous4:13 PM

    That is ridiculous for a twin sheet. We are probably the only people who want used linens!!!! Good luck with the pumpkin and check out Tablecloth Thursday. I am an idiot and thought it was Weds. night! Vicki at Hollyhocks.typepad.com

  6. I, too watched the pumpkin show on PBS this weekend. It was amazing to me the lengths they go to in order to raise a 1400 pound pumpkin. They bathe the pumpkin in calcium, spend all day watching it. Amazing! Talk about tenacity!

  7. I agree that books are the best find at yard sales. I pick them up all the time for the kids. We are running out of room on their/our bookshelves!

  8. I found the same problem with the big name thrift stores when I went thrifting in the springtime with my friend. I don't get to do much thrifting and I was shocked at what they wanted to charge for things that were not that appealing anyway. The smaller stores are definitely the way to go.

  9. In LA $4 is the price for sheets at Goodwill. But I hear that Goodwill is more expensive than other thrift stores. I agree with you about books, I got the complete works of Madeline which is a huge book for a $1.50. Good luck with that pumpkin. I had to chuckle, it so reminded me of my Uncle and how he fought the good fight against critters in his garden.

  10. Oh Sarah, don't get me started on the OUTRAGEOUS prices at Goodwill!! I complain every time I go there... and I will only go when it is 1/2 off day.
    I even called coorperate to complain... it's ridiculous!!
    How about we all boycott Goodwill!!

  11. I had no idea that pumpkins were so challenging! :) Keep us posted on your little one...it's so cute.

  12. Anonymous11:17 AM

    books and magazines are a bit of a luxury when it comes to the prices, but a real neccissity. Fortunately there are so many discounted ways of buying them, it's certainly worth shopping around.

  13. Hey!!! Congrats Pumpkin Mama! I haven't seen that documentary, but I'm going to see if I can find it. The boys would love that.

    Congrats on the Eric Carle too. We never find his books used! I think you're right, Goodwill has gotten a little snotty lately. I think they're on to us thrifters!

  14. You may already know this, but you can carve your pumpkin now while it is small and still on the vine. Take a nail and scratch the surface with your intial or Jack's name or even a Jack o Lantern face. It will scar over and grow into the pumpkin. I did this earlier this summer when my pumpkins came up "volunteer". I had quite a pumpkin crop in July. Who want's pumpkins in July? You can email me for a picture of what the pumpkins look like after they scar over. It is pretty neat. The pumpkins we actually planted are coming up great right in front of our Indian Corn.

  15. Anonymous6:02 PM

    I hate "commercial" thrift stores anymore. Hate. Hateration. If you want to be an antique store, then be one. But don't be a thrift store charging antique prices!!!
    I regress.

    Lots o' luck on the baby pumpkin producing!

  16. I hope that baby pumpkin grows up without any problems from pesky squirrels and such!

    Our goodwill & other thrift stores are ridiculously expensive and never have anything good. Occasionally I see kids books for really cheap though, but I don't have any little ones to buy books for... :)

  17. I get grumpy sometimes at thrift store prices - for heaven's sakes they get the stuff for free! I do find some good deals on kids books though - ours is only charging $2 or $3 and I can usually wait until they are half off to pick them up.

  18. Anonymous6:28 PM

    I always thought Pumpkins just did their own thing!

    I agree books are almost criminally cheap especially childrens ones. We have so many. It is crazy when you can get sets of the Narnia books for a mere 10c each.

    Oh and loving the peek into your tablecloth collection.

  19. Anonymous6:06 AM

    oh i totally agree books are the best deal at the thrift store too. i just got two dozen and a new place i found for 4 dollars total! i am too lazy to do the math but 24 books for 4 dollars sounds good to me!!!!

  20. wow, I never knew pumpkins are so much work. I stuck my seeds in the dirt and water when I rember them. ( they are in the alley)

    I love your table cloths!!


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